Does Time Slow Down, or Speed Up in a Crisis?
2009-12-19 0:00

By Luke McKinney | TheDailyGalaxy


Scientists are asking if we can turbocharge our time perception. In The Matrix, hero Neo wins his battles when time slows in the simulated world. In our real world, accident victims often report a similar slowing of time as they slip unavoidably towards disaster. We've all heard stories of people seeing things happening in bullet time or reviewing their entire about-to-end lives, but if we could toggle this tachypsychian switch by choice it'd be a real-life superpower.

The first question is “Can our consciousness affect our awareness of time?”, which is a tautological yes – of course our ability to be aware of things affects our awareness of things. The fantastically named Professor Eagleman is going further: he wants to find out if time really does slow down for subjects, no matter how many people he has to strap into experimental hardware and hurl off buildings.

The hardware is a “perceptual chronometer”, an LED screen whose patter flickers slightly too fast to make out – it hops between patterns like “3” and “E” but looks like “8” to anyone operating at regular human speed. The “hurling off buildings” bit is SCAD, Suspended Air Catch Device, an activity which berates bungee jumping as wimpy because the latter allows people to slow down. In SCAD jumps you fall off a shaky ledge thirty meters up and fall full speed into a net.

Unfortunately the results are against creating the Flash anytime soon: while test subjects did recall the fall taking longer than it actually did, none could perceive the changing pattern on the watch. This would indicate that the effect is an artifact of memory – the brain writing more data more powerfully than normal, so the recollection seems to last longer than non-traumatic events. The problem is that this temporal effect is the ultimate in subjective data – literally so, as the brain often thinks it's the last thing it'll experience. So when you remember things happening in slow motion, it's the remembering that provided that – not the original event.

Of course there are a thousand and one other factors which could influence this experiment – maybe the brain can deal with data faster, but the frame-rate from the eye doesn't increase. Perhaps the subjects were simply too scared. Or it could be that SCAD just isn't the right way to trigger the temporal boost (in which case God help Eagleman's next victims). There have been cases of people perceiving time differently under cranial magnetic stimulation, or the effect of tumors, but so far they've all resulted in slowing down or simply breaking previously observed effects – it seems that overclocking ourselves isn't an option yet.

Article from: DailyGalaxy.com


Video from: YouTube.com



Related Articles
DavidEagleman.com
David Eagleman: The afterlife, synesthesia and other tales of the senses
Eagleman `Time Slowing` Experiment Invalidated?
History and Celestial Time
Can you see time?
Beyond space and time: Fractals, hyperspace and more
Time Travel: Fantasy or Science?
Time Warp! (Or “A Warped Time.”)
Will Time be Replaced by Another Space Dimension?


Latest News from our Front Page

Dead LA man who had 1,200 guns, underwater car identified; believed to be 'part alien' secret government worker
2015-07-27 23:42
The mystery behind a Los Angeles gun fanatic found decomposing in a car last week has deepened as his fiancée's family said he was an alien-hybrid secretly working for the government. The bizarre statement came Wednesday as the betrothed woman's lawyer identified the dead man as Jeffrey Alan Lash — almost one week after he was discovered rotting in his car ...
Britain Under Siege: Hundreds of Illegals Storm Eurotunnel Every Night
2015-07-27 22:45
The volume of illegals trying to gain access to the United Kingdom via the railway tunnel beneath the English Channel is now so great, hundreds storm the French terminal every night. Hoping to stow away on-board lorries or to ‘train surf’ to England, the migrants – of which there are an estimated 5,000 in the town of Calais at any one ...
Detroit's black rape gangs target couples
2015-07-27 22:53
Victims forced into alleys, men made to watch sex assault on female companions In a developing story, a gang of rapists in Detroit is terrorizing citizens in the crime-ridden city. Detroit police are looking for as many as six suspects after two rape and robbery incidents occurred on Thursday night within hours of each other. The same group may be responsible ...
Satanic statue unveiled in Detroit
2015-07-27 21:13
Christians protest after the Satanic Temple unveils bronze Baphomet statue featuring a human body, goat’s head and wings. Several hundred people have attended a Mass at a US Catholic church to protest against an eight and a half-foot (2.6-metre)-tall bronze statue of Satan that hundreds of people also lined up to see. The Satanic Temple had said it would unveil the ...
India's prime minister endorses call for Britain to pay reparations for colonial rule
2015-07-27 21:34
Narendra Modi supports impassioned Shashi Tharoor’s call for colonial ruler Britain to make reparations to India India’s prime minister has praised an opposition MP who made an impassioned appeal for Britain to pay reparations for 200 years of colonial rule. Narendra Modi said Shashi Tharoor’s speech at the Oxford Union, which was posted online last week, “reflected the feelings of patriotic ...
More News »